How to Talk to your Kids About Porn

How to talk ot your kid about pornIn our last post, we talked about the easy access that tweens and teens have to pornography through the internet. If that topic wasn’t disturbing enough, we are now going to discuss how to talk to your kids about pornography.

Okay, I just heard a bunch of you stick your heads in the sand because the thought of even bringing up this topic is frightening. We get it.

We also heard some shakes of the head in disbelief (yes, we can hear those too). You are thinking: “My child would never look for such a thing”.

Don’t be so quick to assume.  Because tweens and teens are curious, because their brains are wired to be impulsive, because their friends dare them to, because they see something on TV, because they hear an unfamiliar term, because they click on the wrong site by accident, or because it is just so readily accessible, the likelihood is that your tween or teen will be exposed to pornography before they reach adulthood.

Scary, yes; but scarier still if they see pornography without any type of framework of understanding. Your values and beliefs about this subject have to provide the lens through which they view it. Like with so many other things they experience during adolescence, you want a good dose of your beliefs solidly implanted in their brain, along with all of the other input they will receive. Do you really want the misguided insights of their 14 year old friend to be the only information they have in their head on this subject?

Hopefully, you are with us on this, but you are still probably scared to death to talk about it and/or have no idea of how to bring it up. If you make it a taboo subject, that can pique the interest of your tween. If you come across as incredibly anxious, the tween brain can interpret that to mean that this must be something that is totally cool for them.

Don’t be so quick to assume. iSo let us help you out. We are going to walk you through the process step by step, giving you some cues, on how to talk to your tween or teen about pornography.
Give them a framework for why you are talking to them: For example: “My job as a parent is to give you a map into adulthood. You will make your own way and have your own experiences, but just like there are guides that take people on safaris, I am you guide through childhood.”

Give them some reference: We have talked about ________(fill in the types of topics that you have covered about intimate relationships. This includes not only what you have talked about regarding the mechanics of sex, but what is important in romantic relationships).

Introduce the topic: The introduction will depend on their age and whether or not they have had some exposure to pornography. This part of the discussion may have interruptions and questions. Be prepared to go wherever the conversation takes you. The following is one example of how to ease into the subject:

“You know how there are books and movies that can give you accurate information about a topic and then there are books and movies that can be completely inaccurate. This can be confusing. (You can put an example in here like:’ People don’t meet in one day, fall in love and then live happily ever after. Relationships take time and work to get to know one another’). “

“When it comes to relationships, pornography is the type of book or movie that gives you the wrong information about intimate relationships. It is something that is completely inaccurate as far as how men and women relate to one another in real life, but it is often something that teens are curious about. You are still learning about how to have relationships and need to only have the best information, so you can have the best relationships.”

“As you get older you may hear more about pornography and I am always here to answer questions, even though it can fell weird to talk to me about it“(insert some laughter here, because you may need to break the ice as your tween or teen is squirming in their seat).
-OR-
“I know that you saw some pornography and just like a movie can make all types of things fake, that is what pornography does with romantic relationships.”

Give them your framework for what is important in relationships: Here is where you can talk about what you value in relationships. Make it short and sweet. Guiding our children to successful relationships, takes many conversations. For this conversation, focus in on 2 or 3 elements of relationships that you think are important.This link may give you some ideas. It breaks down relationships into different categories and makes a good distinctions between intimacy and sexuality.

This is also a good time to bring up the importance of respect in relationships. Unfortunately, a current trend in the teen world is sending naked pictures at the request of a peer. While teens do not see this as pornography, once sent, they have no control of how this image is used. This discussion can be a time to reinforce the concept of privacy and the importance of appropriate boundaries in all relationships.

As we said above, go where the conversation takes you. Your tween may have lots of questions and be relieved that you brought it up, or your tween may be so embarrassed that they are secretly dying inside. Either way, you have poured some information into their brain. Information that they can rely on and is based on your values.
Car Thought (something to ponder as you shuttle your kids about): If you could only tell your child one thing about successful romantic relationships, what would it be?

Some of you may have already had to talk to your children about pornography. How did you handle it?

Share your experience in our comment section